The Caribbean Business Book of Lists ranks RSM Puerto Rico in third place on its list of Puerto Rico’s Largest Accounting Firms. This list is based on the total amount of full-time employees.

But none of this is coincidence. RSM Puerto Rico’s success story is both planned and intentional, as Managing Partner Doris Barroso explains in this interview.


Was it a surprise for you to see RSM Puerto Rico in third position in the national ranking or did you already expect it?

During the past four years, RSM Puerto Rico has constantly grown in double digits – more than 10% annually. To support the growth in demand for our services and meet the needs of newly acquired clients, we have had to increase our staff. Therefore, this ranking is something that we have worked for, and we knew it could happen.


What was the path taken in recent years to achieve this growth?

Having faced many challenges in recent years (hurricanes, earthquakes, the pandemic, etc.), we reaffirmed our commitment to serve our clients and to care for our employees by giving them the tools they need to succeed in their roles. Listening and seeking solutions together, we have grown both our client portfolio and the number of services we provide to existing clients.


What were the services that grew the most?

For several years in a row, we have seen sustained growth in all areas, particularly in consulting. This upward trend in the demand for consulting services is observed on a global scale. We attribute this growing need for consulting services to the changes brought about by the pandemic.


In times when there is a great bid for talent in our sector, what was the key to almost double the growth of personnel compared to other firms?

The market is very competitive, and attracting talent has been difficult for us too. However, we have been very intentional in the efforts we are making, both internally and externally. One of the first things we did was to review our salaries at all scales and address any gaps in gender pay equity. We also used RSM’s and local market insights to review the pay rates of our current employees to guarantee that we are paying them a fair market rate. This way, we ensure that we have an attractive and competitive offer for new candidates and can retain current employees.


Most recently, we opened an Instagram account focused on showing our organisational culture and all the ways in which we value our employees. We also want to convey that there are opportunities to grow with us and to reach your goals. The response has been really positive. We have had candidates tell us, during the interview, that they learned about the Firm from Instagram and became interested in working with us.


What is the vision of RSM Puerto Rico for the next 5 years?

We project continuous growth as a Firm because we have identified new areas of opportunity brought about by the pandemic - and importantly – we are listening to the needs that our clients are sharing with us. We will continue building on the success and learnings of these 45 years in business. Aligning with the RSM 2030 Global Strategy, we aim to provide an experience that adds value for our clients and builds trust in a constantly changing environment.


Doris, you have a great interest in the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). How important to the growth of your Firm do you consider the WEPs to be?

At RSM Puerto Rico, we are strongly committed to gender equality and WEPs, and we are constantly assessing our practices to ensure that we are acting accordingly. It all started with curiosity. We created a small group of women in leadership positions, and we started having conversations about their needs and what they thought were obstacles to their growth. From this exercise, we identified key elements that women need to thrive in a business setting, such as safety, respect, and the certainty that they are treated as equal to their male peers. We also learned that they needed professional development tools focused on skills that are often not taught to girls when growing up, for instance, negotiation and public speaking.


What do you consider the hallmarks of socially responsible governance within an RSM Member Firm?

I think it starts with setting the goals and the metrics that will be used to measure success. Then, it is important to communicate those internally for everyone to be aware of the efforts and know how to contribute from their role. Of course, there needs to be transparency and accountability.


How important is having women in leadership roles within your Firm? How do you think this affects growth?

It is crucial to have women in leadership roles within the Firm because we bring a different perspective to the decision-making process. Because of our ability to see things in a different light, we tend to question the status quo and push for innovative solutions. Not that men don’t do this, but we do it in a different way. From my experience, we often tend to lead from the heart which, contrary to popular belief, is not a weakness but a way to build long-lasting relationships, be it employees or clients. This also helps us to create a healthier, more understanding working environment. All these elements contribute to our Firm’s growth. Most importantly, having women in leadership roles is essential for our upcoming talent to have role models who show it’s possible to reach higher levels, that there’s a path.